Thursday, November 6, 2014

Igor Strelkov : War Awaits Russia

Note:  Since the issue of Russian monarchy is, judging by the pre and post podcast questions and comments, clearly of interest to many of you I think that I need to explain something important here.

The movie which Strelkov and host Krutov are mentioning at the beginning of the interview is about a very interesting Russian author named Ivan Solonevich and who was the chief ideologue of a movement originally referred to as "Staff Captains" (Штабс Капитаны) but which later became known as "Popular Monarchists" (Народные монархисты) to which I myself have been very close all my life (Alexander Solzhenitsyn and Ivan Solonevich, along with Lev Tikhomirov and Ivan Iliin, were my "maîtres à penser" for decades) and which I know very well from the inside.  Since I believe that Strelkov very much shares these views I think that it would be helpful for me to summarize some of their key ideas.  I am not, repeat, not asking you to endorse any of these ideas (my own views have also greatly evolved with time), but only to become aware of how different they are from western notions about monarchism.

1) Popular Monarchism (PM) is, in western terms, a *leftist* form of monarchy which opposes monarchy to aristocracy and not to democracy.  In the view of PM, the Russian history is mostly the struggle between two forces: on one side the monarch and the people (both traditionalist, Orthodox and populist) against, on the other side, the elites (seen as modernists, secularists and elitists).
2) PM affirms that Russia is an empire by nature (by "national dominant" to use the term of Solonevich) but it emphatically condemns and opposes the kind of Empire created by Czar Peter I (which some call "the Great").  PM see Peter I (and his court) as the epitome of russophobic evil.
3) PM is a democratic ideology since it affirms that PM is an *institution* a *system* which must include a Zemskii Sobor (Assembly of the Russian Land) as a medium for the expression of the popular will which the monarch has to then implement.
4) PM is almost as class-oriented as Marxism and sees the Russian aristocracy, especially the court, as the most dangerous foe of the Russian people.  The only form of aristocracy PM recognizes as legitimate is the "serving aristocracy" which in modern terms would mean civil servants and/or the military.
5) Ivan Solonevich was himself a Belorussian and he was very proud of his roots just as he was proud of coming from a family of peasants.  PM fully support cultural and national diversity, but resolutely opposes nationalist separatism.
6) PM reject the notion of universal values and say that each nation and each civilization produces its own values and traditions and that each nation and civilization should be left free to live according to these values and traditions.
7) PM has a strong libertarian streak as it sees government bureaucracies as one of the most inept, corrupt and useless parts of society.  PM believe that the popular masses (workers and peasants) should be left free to organized themselves as this both respects the Russian tradition of freedom and is most effective in economic terms.

Anyway, I will stop here.  To those who can read Russian I recommend Solonevich's main book Народная Монархия which can easily be found and downloaded from the Net.

I just wanted to explain here that Strelkov's "monarchism" had very little to do with Elizabeth II of England, Abdullah II of Jordan, the House of Saud or any other of these nasty characters we usually associate with the notion of monarchy nowadays.  Also, the views of Solonevich, who fled the USSR in 1934 (he later wrote the first book about the Gulag ever), were not very well known during the Soviet years (the KGB banned all his books) but since 1991 they have been re-discovered and are now very popular in the Eurasian Sovereignist circles.

Cheers and kind regards,

The Saker

(please click on the 'cc' button in the lower right to see the subtitles)

Host: Aleksander Nikolaevich Krutov, Chief Editor of the periodical "Russian House"
Subtitled in english and german (french coming soon)
Video Details: Original Air Date: 29 October 2014
English Transcription & Translation by: VineyardSaker Video Team: Marina, GC, Katya,S, Gideon & Yulia. German Translation by Dagmar.
Editing & Production: Marina & The French Saker